Help: My S3 is Sick

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by mlinehan, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. mlinehan

    mlinehan New Member

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    Sep 23, 2006
    Columbus Ohio
    My 1 year old S3 has developed a stutter / jump / crash / reboot problem.

    When I reboot the unit, and watch live TV, it seems to work fine for about 5 minutes, and then things start to go down hill. The playback starts to "stutter" (random 0.5 second pauses) getting worse over the next 2 or so minutes, progressing to jumps (both forwards and backwards). There is MPG macro blocking associated with the jumps. About another minute or so and the tivo will either lock up or spontaneously reboot.

    Looking though Now Playing, shows several "partial" recording starting Saturday night. Typically the tivo is managing to record about 12 minutes spread across 2 partial recordings per 30 minutes of program.

    I checked, my tivo shipped to me on Sept. 23, 2006. It is exactly 1 year old. I don't think I purchased the extend warranty.

    What should I do?

    Matt
     
  2. GoHokies!

    GoHokies! O2->CO2 Converter

    2,657
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    Sep 21, 2005
    KFME
    Sounds like the hard drive is on the way out.

    Best bet is to just replace the drive w/ a new one and get more storage space to boot.
     
  3. mlinehan

    mlinehan New Member

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    Sep 23, 2006
    Columbus Ohio
    My guess is also that the HD is going, and just replacing it my self is probably the correct thing to do. I just wanted to check with the community and see if others agreed that the HD was the probable root cause.

    I checked Weaknees, $299 for a 500GB replacement drive.... hmmm....

    Seems high, but you have to factor in they have done the work loading the OS on the drive. Also, I hope they are using server class hard drives due to the high load on the drive. Consumer class drives are probably a bad idea in a DVR.

    So is the upgrade kit for Weaknees worth it, or is it better to do it myself?
    If do it myself, what should I be looking for in the drive specs?

    Matt
     
  4. GoHokies!

    GoHokies! O2->CO2 Converter

    2,657
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    Sep 21, 2005
    KFME
    Weakness is using (AFAIK) the DB35 which is designed for DVR service.

    Check out the eSATA faq thread, the same recommendations for drives that work in an enclosure are appropriate for the main drive, and there is some discussion of sources and deals to boot. A copy of Instant Cake and 30 minutes worth of work are in front of you if you want to do the work yourself, you've got to make the decision if the price premium is worth it to go with Weakness or not. (If it were me, I would do the work myself, but varying amounts of free time and technical knowledge make this a very personal decision).
     
  5. mlinehan

    mlinehan New Member

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    Sep 23, 2006
    Columbus Ohio
    My home computer does not have SATA, it's parallel ATA. So Weaknees is it is, that was an easy decision.

    Before I plunk down $300 for a new drive, can anyone else confirm that the symptoms are consistent with hard drive failure, and not some other component. I sure would hate to drop $300 on the drive only to discover that something else on the mother board is going wiggy.
     
  6. GoHokies!

    GoHokies! O2->CO2 Converter

    2,657
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    Sep 21, 2005
    KFME
    What, you don't believe me? ;)

    Seriously, the no sata on the computer does make that a no brainer. Good luck (and someone in here back me up (or tell me I'm full of BS, either way!!!)). :D
     
  7. wierdo

    wierdo New Member

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    Apr 7, 2002
    Arkansas, US
    That's what happened to my S2 when its disk was on the way out.

    FWIW, it would be significantly cheaper to buy both a SATA drive and a SATA card (or a PATA->SATA adapter) for your PC than it would be to buy a drive from WeaKnees.

    Personally, I've never bothered to find a "DVR rated" hard drive, but I don't require a particularly quiet drive. Other than the acoustic issues, the drive you pick shouldn't matter. (I don't ever power off my computers, and they don't require a special drive, so why should a TiVo?)
     
  8. gthassell

    gthassell Active Member

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    Apr 22, 2003
    Willowbrook, IL
    One other thing - the new WinMFS software for upgrades is "wicked easy." While I've upgraded a number of Series2 boxes using hinsdale and other linux-based approaches (without any issues), the ability to do it from Windows (XP / SP2 or greater) in a menu-driven approach makes it doable for nearly anyone. :up: :up: :up:

    Within about 30 minutes from cracking open the box (not the case, the cardboard box) on my brand new, never even been booted TiVoHD, it was up and running with 64 hours of HD using a Western Digital 500 GB SATA drive.

    Piece of cake. :D
     
  9. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Jan 4, 2003
    Yes, the symptoms point to hard drive problems.

    One thing you could try before you pull the internal drive is to run TiVo's diagnostic program using "Kickstart 57".

    Kickstart 57:

    1. Unplug TiVo and wait 15 seconds.
    2. Plug TiVo in, get the TiVo remote and aim it at TiVo.
    3. Press and hold the pause button until the orange light comes back on by itself.
    4. Release the pause button and immediately type in the numbers 5 and 7 on the remote (you have about 10 seconds to do this step).
    5. TiVo will reboot and the GSOD screen will come on saying TiVo has encountered a serious error. It will then run the disk management tool which can take from 10 minutes to 3 hours to complete. During this time it will look for and correct configuration problems as well as isolating any bad sectors on the hard drive so they can no longer be used.
    6. TiVo will automatically reboot again and hopefully things will return to normal. (Programs that used any bad sectors may be lost.)

    If that doesn’t work you may want to contact TiVo and see what they will do for you. They may offer you an exchange unit for $50 to cover shipping or reduced cost on a refurb (same guarantee as new).

    Or as others have suggested you can easily replace your hard drive. (Best Buy has a new Western Digital 1TB Green drive on sale for $259.00!) Just follow these instructions and use a USB to SATA connector like this one with your PC (assuming you have a USB port).

    Hope that helps and keep us posted!
     
  10. bmgoodman

    bmgoodman Member

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    Dec 20, 2000
    Northern...
    I think a BYTECC USB 2.0 Drive Mate would work for you. It lets you connect a 3.5" IDE, 2.5" IDE, or 3.5" SATA internal drive to your computer via a USB cable. It's a $35 adapter. Then you should be able to do your drive replacement yourself on your current home computer. Just a thought.
     
  11. mlinehan

    mlinehan New Member

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    Sep 23, 2006
    Columbus Ohio
    Thank you everyone!
    I could have done it myself, with everyones help, but I decided to just take the easy route and I ordered a 500GB upgrade from weaknees. Nothing like using a failure to justify an upgrade!!

    Rich: Does Kickstart 57 report what it has found, or does it just do it's thing and not tell the user? If it reports what it repairs, I'll run that just to find out what it fixes, if anything.
     
  12. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

    9,063
    59
    Jan 4, 2003
    Unfortunately TiVo's mfstools-type diagnostic doesn't have a way to tell you what it did to fix things. However a small sector issue can affect performance, particularly if it's in a key software activity area and there's certainly no harm in running it.

    There’s another program, "Kickstart 58" which runs the same diagnostics but also downloads a fresh copy of the software, loads it to the available partition and causes TiVo to boot from the newly installed version. That may rectify the problem as well. All of the action items are the same with the exception of pressing the numbers 5 and 8 (instead of 5 and 7). Of course TiVo has to have access to the Internet or a phone line when KS58 is run.

    In any case, hope things work out okay and if you do install the larger drive...enjoy the new real estate! ;)
     
  13. mlinehan

    mlinehan New Member

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    Sep 23, 2006
    Columbus Ohio
    I pulled the power cord out of the S3 and left it that way over night, to let it "cool down".

    When I came home from work, I powered it up, and it worked perfectly.... for about 20 minutes. And then the skipping and stuttering started.

    So I did a Kickstart 57, just to see what would happen, and it's been stuck in a reboot / GSOD screen loop for the last 3 hours. Average loop time is about 7 minutes.

    Glad my new hard drive will be delivered tomorrow. I'm all ready beginning to show signs of withdrawal!
     
  14. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

    9,063
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    Jan 4, 2003
    Bummer...about the reboot sequence. Might as well pull the plug and plug it back in again when it hits the Powering Up screen. If nothing improves you'll probably have to take it off of life support. :(

    Great that the new drive is on the way! :up:
     
  15. mlinehan

    mlinehan New Member

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    Sep 23, 2006
    Columbus Ohio
    Final Report:

    I officially recommend Weaknees Tivo replacement hard drives. They make it very easy, and very simple! It came with well written directions, and the two different sizes of Torx screwdrivers required to open the Tivo and replace the drive. Total time to replace the drive was about 15 minutes.

    You certainly can save a lot of money by using a stock off the self drive, and loading an image down loaded from the internet onto the drive yourself. But if you, like me, would rather spend a the extra dollars instead of spending the extra time, Weaknees is the way to go!

    Powered the unit up, and ran through guided setup without a hitch. I've spent the last 5 hours re-entering my season passes and wish lists. So far everything is working perfectly, and now it can record 70 hours HD to boot!

    Yes, I am _happy_ again!
     
  16. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

    9,063
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    Jan 4, 2003
    And in the end...that's what counts!! :up: :D
     
  17. vstone

    vstone Active Member

    1,250
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    May 11, 2002
    Martinsville...
    Anybody know if Kickstart 57 works with 9.1? I can't get it to work.
     
  18. rcr2

    rcr2 It's you, not me.

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    Feb 3, 2007
    Monmouth...
    I can't get it to work with my Series 3 on 9.2a, either.

    Holding down the remote pause button through the 3 lights being on, then they go off for a second, the orange light comes on for about 2 seconds, and turns off before I get the "7" entered it's so fast.

    then no lights and it continues to power up, going to the 'Almost There' screen.

    Any other way to force the 57 diagnostic?
     
  19. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

    9,063
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    Jan 4, 2003
    KS57 will work on all TiVos. If you're holding down the pause button when the orange/yellow light comes on, continue to hold it for a moment or two longer. Releasing it too early may cause TiVo to miss your remote's signal. Once it "reads" the remote signal the yellow light will stay illuminated for about 10 seconds. Once it stays on you can release the pause button and then enter five then seven.
     
  20. JackieGaGa

    JackieGaGa New Member

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    6
    Mar 24, 2008
    OK I did a K57 reset I got the green error screen. Now I have the blue ALMOST THERE screen or should it still be on the green error screen
     

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